Unicomp Space Saver Keyboard

Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have these crappy mushy USB keyboards. We had keyboards that took up most of the desktop, weighed 15 pounds and sounded like a dot matrix printer going full bore when you were typing on it. And we liked it!

Seriously, I type about 150 WPM and detest most keyboards made over the past 10 years. I finally got fed up with this a few weeks ago and decided to go find an old school clicky keyboard. After a bit of research on the Internet, I hit up the Unicomp site.

Unicomp makes keyboards based on technology from Lexmark International which manufactured all of those wonderful keyboards for IBM back in the day. And their keyboards are every bit the awesomeness that I remember from hacking away at an IBM PC during a summer job at the Department of Defense in 1984.

I bought the space saver keyboard below for $69. The “space saver” designation is a bit of a misnomer as this keyboard is larger than most of the recent keyboards I used. Its just not as ginormous as the full-sized IBM-style keyboards which are fraking huge.

It definitely has that clicky-ness to it that some people apparently find annoying, but it is not so loud as to disturb anyone unless you have extremely oversensitive coworkers or roommates. Otherwise, the bottom line is this is simply how a keyboard should be.

4 thoughts on “Unicomp Space Saver Keyboard”

  1. Mushy, quiet, response-less keyboards are bad. My problem is almost every keyboard *becomes* mushy after I’ve been pounding away at it for a few months, which is why I rarely invest more than about $20 in them. That said… I guess a $69 keyboard that lasts me all year is about the same as 3 $20 keyboards in the same space of time. (Or one really nasty mushed up keyboard since I’m lazy and prefer to bitch than replace.)

  2. @Ysharros – I know what you mean, however, I don’t think you’re going to run into that problem with these keyboards.

    Most keyboard soled today use dome switched keys…you press the key which pushes a silicone or rubber dome downward completing a circuit indicating which key hass been pressed.

    The Unicomp keyboards use mechanical buckling springs and are both more comfortable to type on because of the lack of mushiness, and will generally last significantly longer before any degradation of performance (like you, I find myself replacing the sort of keyboard you can get at Best Buy or Office Depot every few months because they degrade pretty quickly with anything but the lightest use).

  3. We had keyboards that took up most of the desktop, weighed 15 pounds and sounded like a dot matrix printer going full bore when you were typing on it. And we liked it!

    I still like it—so much so that I had the same basic experience you did, which led me to the Customizer and this very long review of it. Most of all, the keyboard was a beast; I say “was” because I’ve since switched to the Kinesis Advantage, but if this one doesn’t hold up over time the Customizer is definitely coming back out.

  4. You want hard typing?
    I learned to type in 1960. Myh first typer was a 1926 Underwood Noisless open-carriage typewriter. It was made of cast iron and the keys hit the paper with the same force your fingers impacted the keys. This meant that a hard strong blow was required to activate the lever that threw the letter-slug against the hard rubber platen and the paper between them. Carbon paper between two sheets of paper (or Gods forbid THREE) was the way you made copies. BANG-BANGITY-BANG! I got up to 100 WPM before jamming the levers on it. When I graduated to the old IBM Office Electric, I nearly went crazy! I had to learn to type with a lighter touch because it would gallop away under my hands. The Selectric was the same, but I adapted.

    That said… I can practically drive nails with my fingertips. I NEED a good, SOLID keyboard. When the dome-keyboards came out I thought I would freakin’ give UP typing ever again. Horrible. I suffered under those things for 15 YEARS, murdering a keyboard every three months! Then someone who watched me typing (I was down to a piddling 30 WPM and miserable) suggested an IBM Model M. I got an old one (looks under the chassis) built on 20 July 1987.

    That was five years ago. I *STILL* have it! So don’t worry about your IBM going bad on you… it just about can’t happen. I’ve ordered two more of these beasts for my other computers. I will keep the new Unicomp one in a carry case so that I can SWAP OUT a keyboard on someone else’s machine if I have to. Get a buckling spring keyboard! You will NOT regret it!

    Swan

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